These are a few of the things that made up our Valentine’s Day hike to Woodstock Cave on Devil’s Peak.
To get to the cave, there are a few different paths—so as long as you’re headed up, you’re headed in the right direction. One option is via a contour path that winds around Devil’s Peak. This option would make for a very easy—but much longer—hike. And by easy, I mean that we ran into people hiking the contour path in dresses and jeans. So, easy.
But, since Chas and I are made up of one impatient and foolishly confident person (hi, nice to meet you), we start the hike that day from Rhodes Memorial, and decide to take the short-cuts up. These shorter paths are STEEP, but broken up a few times by the contour path as it passes through, which provides nice stopping points and great views of Cape Town.
From King’s Blockhouse, we cut right around the mountain to head to the cave via the contour path. We take this part of the hike as fast as possible because the trail is covered in ants. An ant kingdom like nothing we’ve ever seen before. A foot is down for half a second, and before you know it, the ants are crawling up our shoes and headed for the good stuff. So, we start stomping to shake those little buggers and pick up speed.
About half way up this part of the trail, I’m feeling extra vigilant about the ants—hyper aware of what’s crawling around me, on me, up me. It’s around then that I hear a rustling sound to my left, on the side of the mountain. I stop.
Me: What was that?
Chas: Keep moving, keep moving. Ants.
Me: Maybe it was a lizard?
Chas: Gogogogogogogogo. ANTS.
And I do keep moving. Only to go about three more steps before I hear a sound come out of Chas that I can only describe as operaticgigglescreaming. And then he runs straight into the back of me. WHUMP.
Me: What is happening?
So, now we are running. And in my head, the snake is following us—cause that’s what they do, right? And the ants. And Chas is running behind me, pushing me, but now he’s also stomp-running. So, I start stomp-running, too.
Yeah, we’re hikers.
We reach Woodstock Cave about 20 minutes later, and the cave is massive. It’s dark and cool inside, and colorfully graffitied. Also, we aren’t alone. As we walk up, we notice a group of about 25 people huddling close together in the cave. Oh, and wait—there’s another person there, sitting, staring off aimlessly from a rock. And, ok, there’s someone sleeping?
My first thought is that these people must live here. That they’ve made a kind of camp out of Woodstock Cave. But, then we notice that they’re all holding—or sleeping on—books. We can’t tell, but maybe they are Bibles, or some other religious book.
I try to make eye contact as the huddling group disperses, smile a little. That’s a no-go. Chas and I look at each other. This is weird. Should we stay? Yeah, we should stay! We fought off an ant army and snakes—ok, one snake—to get here! We will sit and we will enjoy the view and we will eat some granola bars.
So, that’s what we do. We say “Hi, don’t mind us, just enjoying the view hehe,” and sit and eat granola bars while people dressed head-to-toe in winter gear walk around us speaking to themselves, praying, worshipping…we aren’t quite sure. But, what I am sure of is that if we stick around, we are certain to get sacrificed. So yet again, there we are:
Both of us: Gogogogogogogo.
It’s an easy walk back down to Rhodes Memorial, and occasionally accompanied by the sound of the group singing from inside the cave as it echoes down the mountain. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures from the belly of the cave, since we weren’t about to interrupt the service to ask someone to take a picture of us. That would have been weird. And it was already weird enough.